Welcome to Penn Global Alumni and Alumni Clubs
With over 25,000 alumni living outside the United States, the University of Pennsylvania truly has a global presence in just about any community in the world. Moreover, Penn Alumni can be found leading organizations of every type all over the globe ranging from large corporations, to government offices, and small local associations. Penn alumni are using their education and experience to make a difference in their home country and beyond. Penn’s alumni pride also can be found around the world as exhibited by the many volunteer leaders who work diligently to serve Penn as alumni interviewers, club leaders, and local ambassadors.
In Penn’s diverse community of engaged citizens, Penn’s Regional Clubs include over 120 clubs around the world offering alumni the chance to reconnect, to attend lively events and to get involved in collaborative initiatives that impact people and communities. Club activities range in size and topics, from discussions featuring Penn Integrates Knowledge faculty members at Engaging Minds programs to intimate salon-style conversations, from celebratory happy hours to Penn sports viewing parties and from community and neighborhood service projects to group trips in the great outdoors. Penn Alumni Regional Clubs are charged with providing alumni with a variety of ways to connect to Penn from their own backyard. Events are sponsored and organized in large part by Penn Alumni volunteers and leaders.
For a listing of current Penn Clubs and School specific clubs around the world, please visit the Alumni and Alumni Club section of the Global Activity Map
Alumni Making a Global Impact
Q & A
What books would you recommend to others?
- I am a great fan of Alexis de Toqueville. Democracy in America is a great book, for the empathy of its description and its aspirations. In an era of domestic democratic dysfunction and enduring authoritarianism, it could not be more relevant.
What is your fondest memory of Penn?
- Penn’s people are great; I even married one. But you meet great people wherever you go. What makes Penn so special is its place. Many of my fondest memories are located in the vibrant community to the West of campus. For three years, I lived at the corner of 45th and Locust. If I close my eyes, I can still hear the sounds of that street. In the dojo next door, a chorus of children shouted their tiny battle cries as they slashed through the air. Greg, from the Second Mile, listened to the radio on the street and talked to neighbors. I couldn’t hear the voices of his used furniture, but he could. Every futon, mirror, and dresser had a hand written note through which the furniture talked to the customers, apologizing for blemishes and earnestly expressing their not-so-wooden feelings. Bluegrass night at Fiume brought another texture, Halal food at Saad’s yet another. I worry about the future of this vibrant community, as the forces of gentrification march westward, because for me, West Philadelphia is Penn’s richest endowment.
What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
- There is a special romance to a snowy night in Red Square. The Russian word for red is very close to the word for beautiful, and that square offers decadent architecture at every angle. However, global engagement seems to require more of us than the cultivated ambiance of a theme park. For that, every visitor to Moscow should go stamp collecting. In a day, see how many official stamps you can see. Look at the menus, the signs, the fliers, and the receipts. Russians love stamps. The technology is an enduring cornerstone of their most arcane bureaucracies, a symbol of official authorization that demonstrates a history of top-down-control.
Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
- Many students do not realize how many professors and alumni are genuinely interested in their weird and specific projects. Be weird and specific, and reach out to people who can help. Don’t let the superhighway of professional aspirations derail you from defining your own unique path.
What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
- I ride a bicycle and don't own a car.
What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
- Will Harris used to teach a class on the Political Theory of the Bible. One page of the syllabus had only two words: word and world. Bill Laufer is one of the most informed, thoughtful, and entertaining teachers that I have known. I have many favorites at Penn. If I was any younger, I might insert an emoticon.